Of and on during the early months of 2000, AZ and I would steal moments together. We still talked on the phone but his reluctance to come out with what was going on with him and Jean finally wore me down. T-Bird and family moved in with me July 4th weekend and stayed for a mind bending three months.
AZ and I were still talking and I did more than my fair share of convincing him to come and see me. Part of me felt guilty over that, part of me didn’t. The part that felt guilty was the part that told me I should leave well enough alone and that getting further involved would just put me back, pseudosorta, where I had been with Jeff before. The other side said, fuck it. I wanted AZ, period.
Didn’t work out that way. AZ did come to see me, which resulted in me asking some tough questions about his relationship with Jean. I wanted to know, once and for all, what the deal was and why was he visiting me and talking to me the way he was if he was engaged to be married to her. He still wasn’t giving me any answers. He stood in my living room trying to find words that wouldn’t come out. I pushed harder and he finally told me that he had asked her to marry him and she said yes. Then she reneged and said no, she wasn’t sure, then she was sure, then she wasn’t.
I was incredulous. I yelled at him across the room, “She told you NO? Is she a fucking idiot?? How could she say yes and then no and then yes? What kind of fucked up game is that? And she’s still living with you? Where is this going?” He just nodded and said quietly, “I know.” I finally told him that if he wasn’t getting what he wanted or needed at home, then he didn’t need to come looking for it from me. Fix it or forget it.
It wasn’t really physically, after all, we weren’t kissing or having sex, it was emotional. He was cheating more emotionally than he was physically. I think I may have thrown out there that he needed to dump her and be with me. Yes, I think I actually said it that way. That didn’t happen. As it goes with AZ, it took another year or two to get the rest of the story.
Things were starting to go south with Jeff as well. In November 2000, I found bruises in the perfect shape of Jeff’s fingers on Nate’s butt. I confronted him on my birthday, and told him that it was unacceptable for him to spank Nate that hard. He had stepped over the line to abuse. At first he denied it, then accused me of not disciplining Nate enough, then admitted he had “probably” spanked Nate when was too angry. I told him if it happened again I would take action and he made me prove it.
By the end of 2000, I had met Holland the drunk.
Addendum – I just read the continuing chapters of this saga, up through 2003, which is as far as I’ve gotten.
I had an “A-ha” moment. It was saddening but enlightening and just changed the course of my relationship with AZ.
Lo once told me I was a healer. Being an empath, you get used to drawing people to you that are in emotional crisis. Like a good salve, we draw out the poison, but to do so without poisoning ourselves takes a certain finesse.
Luckily, I know when I’m in over my head. I know when to duck and run. I know when to dive for cover. I know how to keep myself from being poisoned. Yes, the last year of this saga will either be the end of my relationship with AZ or it will be the beginning of another long road for us.